(Reuters) – American Coco Gauff said she will not shy away from putting herself into uncomfortable positions to become a better player, adding that her struggles with her revamped serve in the build-up to the French Open would help her in the long term.

U.S. Open champion Gauff lacked accuracy when serving in her first two tournaments of this year’s claycourt swing, averaging around 10 double faults in the five matches she played in Stuttgart and Madrid.

The American has been trying to be more aggressive with her first serve and has made changes to her technique.

“I feel like, overall, if I want to be the player that I want to become, I have to be uncomfortable and make changes to my game, not just to my serve, but other things, as well,” 2022 Roland Garros runner-up Gauff told reporters on Friday.

“I have been trying to improve it with every tournament, from the start of the clay to Rome. My last match it was a lot better in terms of percentage and the double faults. I think I’m confident.

“I feel like it’s getting better but it’s obviously a shot that is tough to change because when you’re tight you revert back to what you know works. Sometimes it’s tough to push yourself to do the uncomfortable things which you know in the long term are better for you.”

The 20-year-old’s performances improved markedly in this month’s Italian Open and she reached the semi-finals, where she lost to eventual winner Iga Swiatek.

Gauff said her run had given her a much-needed boost in confidence.

“I have been here for a couple days now, and I feel like I have been preparing great,” she said.

“Had a good tournament in Rome, so I’m excited, hope I can have good vibes here.

“Last week I felt like from the start of the week till the end of the week I improved a lot. It gave me a lot of confidence for this tournament.”

Gauff will face a qualifier in the first round of the French Open which begins on May 26.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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